State of the Environment (SoE) reports are designed to communicate credible, timely and accessible information about the condition of the environment to decision makers and the community. The 2007 SoE Report does not consider all of the many environmental issues facing Western Australia (WA). Rather, it focuses on the major environmental issues, so as to draw attention on them and to help set the State's environmental policy agenda for the next five years.
Previous SoE reports were undertaken by the Western Australian Government in 1992 and 1998.
In Australia, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's 'pressure-state-response' model provides a framework for SoE reports. 'Pressure' (or threat) refers to human activities that affect the environment. 'State' (or condition) refers to the quality of the environment and the functioning of important environmental processes. 'Response' (or actions) refers to initiatives that have been made to address pressures on the environment or to improve or maintain its condition. In WA, a modified version of the model is used: condition-pressure-response-implication. This assists in environmental policy planning while retaining the benefits of an internationally agreed framework for environmental reporting.
Similar to many other state and national SoE reports, WA's reports are structured around environmental themes, issues and indicators. 'Themes' refer to major groupings of the environment, including Fundamental Pressures, Atmosphere, Land, Inland Waters, Biodiversity, Marine, Human Settlements, Heritage and Towards Sustainability.
'Issues' refer to environmental problems and are reported under each theme. Environmental indicators are used to provide a summary measure of the changes and/or trends in the environment or for environmental issues.